Birdwalk Highlights for 11/7: Winslow Park, Freeport.

It was an insanely gorgeous, warm morning. Could we possible go to Winslow Park without being cold and wind-whipped? Apparently so. And we started things off with 8 fly-over EVENING GROSBEAKS as we assembled in the store's parking lot before the caravan departed.

Bay ducks are arriving rapidly, and today we encountered a growing diversity and growing numbers, including 200 BUFFLEHEADS, 100 LONG-TAILED DUCKS, 75 COMMON EIDER, 20 RED-BREASTED MERGANSERS, 40 AMERICAN BLACK DUCKS, and 30 SURF SCOTERS. Two COMMON LOONS engaging in a little territorial or pseudo-courtship battle joined them on the water and made for some interesting behavior to watch.

50+ BONAPARTE'S GULLS were a very good number for here, briefly leaving their roosts on oyster farm floats to join a feeding frenzy nearby. 50+ HERRING, 20 RING-BILLED, and a couple of GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULLS were also present. Later, another floating aquaculture raft supported 8 lingering DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS.

Our bird of the day was probably the particularly cooperative HERMIT THURSH that hopped around in the open dirt road in front of us. But I think the most noteworthy of the landbirds was the very impressive volume of RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES in the woods. We tallied 14, which may have been quite conservative, but it was unexpected that they nearly outnumbered BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES (20+). 5 WHITE-BREASTED NUTHATCHES were also a little above normal, joining several small family groups of TUFTED TITMICE, at least one each of DOWNY and HAIRY WOODPECKERS, and two GOLDEN-CROWNED KINGLETS - one of which was very conveniently feeding below eye level.

Sadly, the only sparrow was a single SONG SPARROW - there's just not much native brush left here anymore. Surprisingly, the only finches were about 10 AMERICAN GOLDFINCHES - perhaps due to the same reason and the unrelenting hacking of the shoreline alders.

Even more sadly, following this morning's outing, we are temporarily suspending the Saturday Morning Birdwalks. See the following post for more information about what we sure hope will be a temporary hiatus.


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